Surfrider volunteers report that in 2019 they picked up more than 16,000 pounds of trash from San Diego beaches — 78 percent of it made from plastic — and most of the plastics were items designed to be used once and discarded (i.e. single-use plastics).
Fed up and not going to take it anymore, Surfrider Foundation San Diego and Oceana held a press conference Saturday, Jan. 4 at the Ocean Beach Veterans Plaza to garner support for AB1080/SB54.
This legislation, known as the California Circular Economy & Pollution Reduction Act, would set goals to reduce waste from single-use plastic packaging and products; ensure the remaining items are effectively recycled; and set a framework to address the pollution and waste crisis — by the year 2030.
Speakers included Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (bill co-author), Tasha Boerner Horvath and Todd Gloria, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, City Council member Chris Ward, Oceana campaign organizer Brady Bradshaw, and Mitch Silverstein and Roger Kube from Surfrider.
“We rely on single-use plastics to fuel our culture of convenience,” Kube told those gathered. “And there are three parts to curbing their use — consumer responsibility, policy action and producer responsibility. AB1080/SB54 addresses these concerns. We can do this in California and set a precedent for the rest of the nation.”
Each speaker pointed out that he (or she) had been participating in beach cleanups for decades and the time has come to tackle the problem another way so the next generation does not have to spend its weekends picking up garbage and trash along the shores.
“I recall that 10 years ago, we started the campaign to ban plastic bags, now it’s single-use plastics,” Supervisor Fletcher said. “Our kids get the message, they know the dangers plastics cause to marine life and our ocean waters. It’s time to do more about it.”
After the press event, Surfrider held its monthly beach cleanup.